For a genre as ubiquitous as indie-punk, there’s a particularly shallow pool of influences, probably because the majority of bands pick the same ones and run with them. North Carolina’s Faye aren’t really any different – this self-titled debut EP takes in liberal amounts of grunge and garage rock and puts it through a Sleater Kinney filter. And while there mightn’t be a whole lot to write home about in terms of originality, it’s a decent little release.
As is to be expected from a release like this, the earthy production job gives it a distinctively loose sound. The thick bassline on ’Teacups’ is a lot more pronounced and fluid than more polished releases, and there’s an omnipresent rumble in the gentle closer ’Ancient Bones’ that only adds to that rustic feel.
The vocals on the other hand, couldn’t be more different. Sarah Blumenthal’s gentle, almost childlike croon is a lot smoother than any of the instrumentation, but it’s an interesting dichotomy that sometimes really works well. ’Vowels’ has a pleasant jangle that runs throughout, and ’Yellow Canary’ layers of reverb build up a palpably thick atmosphere.
As an independent entity, there’s nothing particularly wrong with Faye’s debut – it’s a pleasantly catchy slice of indie-punk that ticks all the right boxes. But compared to some of the genre’s heavyweights – or even the vast majority of the competition – there’s very little on offer here that you won’t have heard before. The fact that it’s only five tracks long is probably its saving grace – it keeps things concise without having to resort to fully cribbing ideas from others.
Judged on its own merits though, this is definitely a strong start. It’s a light, easy-going listen with plenty of character, both in its own composition and from the band itself. And that’s a hard thing to begrudge anyone.
‘Faye’ by Faye is released on May 13th on Tiny Engines.
Words by Luke Nuttall (@nuttall_luke)